The grand human experience, with its winding roads, hills and valleys. The lightness and warmth from the glowing sun, and the darkness that sweeps overhead at dusk. The richness of joy that pours from our heart, the spark of inspiration that pulses through our veins, and the depth of sadness that can swallow us whole. The all encompassing raw, human emotion.
Love, joy, laughter, expansion, passion, ecstasy.
Sadness, grief, pain, sorrow, fear.
These emotions are engrained into our DNA, etched into our cells, and arise naturally in our bodies.
Yet, somehow, we stick labels on them - good and bad. Right and wrong.
The pursuit of happiness continues and along with it, the dismissal of any emotion that isn't aligned with what we've defined as good. We sweep our emotions under the rug, cover them up with positive affirmations, and deny our right to feel what comes most natural to us. We've become downright uncomfortable when it means listening to our bodies and feeling how we feel.
During my retreat, I participated in breathwork sessions that can most easily be described as a form of meditation that were around three hours in length. In a session, your inner wisdom brings you unique experiences that can include a combination of aspects of your personal history, transpersonal interconnections, and a connection to the greater spiritual reality. Think of like an inner journey into your psyche.
As I laid down on my mat - with the tremble of fear rising from the pit of my belly - I surrendered, bringing my presence to that moment, opening up to whatever was about to arise, embracing the unknown.
It was as if I was floating along the surface of the ocean, arms spread wide open. The sun beating down on my face, warming my whole body, and complete darkness beneath me. I felt the sweetness of fresh air fill my lungs, and a gentle let go with every exhale. I let go of expectations, I let go of doing, I let go of fear and trusted that I was safe.
Much like the ocean waves, emotion began rising and falling in my body.
Bliss tingled its way through the crown of my head and down to my toes. I revelled in it. I became aware that I didn't want that feeling of peace to fade away.
But, like everything in this world, it passed.
Sorrow swept over my body and took hold. My body ached from pain. Tears ran down my face.
But, I revelled that too.
I detached myself from the labels and accepted what was and allowed myself to fully feel every emotion.
I felt deeper, more intensely, and allowed the emotion to be released.
Suppressing the feelings we don't want to feel creates dis-ease in the body and wreaks havoc on our cells, as they hide away inside of us, waiting to bubble up to the surface. When we suppress our emotions, we do more harm than good.
I discovered that it's not about good or bad, pain or pleasure, comfort or the unknown, it all leads to wholeness. And that's what it's all about, isn't it? Not happiness, but wholeness. Knowing that deep down, every experience is here to teach us what we need to know most. That the full embodiment of the human experience serves a greater, divine purpose. By picking and choosing the bits we like most and ignoring the rest, we're doing a disservice to the progression of our soul. We must live through all of it, open-hearted.
The darkness is just as transformative as the light. (Tweet this!)
Waves that form out of nowhere can rock us off our feet - but in those moments, we can choose to open our hearts wider, to feel more intensely, and know ourselves deeper. We can learn, grow, expand, and come back to the wholeness that is who we are.
When we change the lens through which we view life, we see the beauty in all of it. There is no good or bad, there's only what is.
Surrender, open your heart, ride the wave.
How 'bout it? Let's get comfortable with emotion and ditch the idea that we need to label emotion as being good, bad, or otherwise - it's all energy - feel it and allow it to pass through you.
I'd love to hear from you - what unwanted emotion is anchoring into you? How do you feel about bringing it to the surface, riding it out, then letting it float on by? Remember, this too shall pass...
Image via A Beach Cottage